The historic Constantine Theater added a new venue Saturday night with the debut of the Constantine Opry. Emcee Garrett Hartness explained, “Our goal is to have a second Constantine Opry in April, followed by events scheduled every other month. Hopefully, each of you will become a fan and support us by coming back.”
Judging by the evening’s lineup, the Opry will provide an excellent opportunity for aspiring entertainers to showcase their talents. The event drew performers from Bartlesville, Barnsdall, Dewey, Nowata, Tulsa, and as far away as Oklahoma City, Norman and Wilburton. A number of entertainers hailed from the D’Lynn Everett Music School in Bartlesville.
Opening the lineup was 17-year old Annie Hart of Bartlesville who sang “Red High Heels” by Kellie Pickler. Later, Hart displayed her guitar talents when she sang “Landslide” by the Dixie Chicks. She was followed by 15-year old Amber Norlin of Norman who played a ukulele while singing “Take Me the Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson. Norlin opened up the second part of the program with a song she comprised called “You Won’t Let Me In.”
The youngest entertainer with a powerful voice was 10-year old Ryann Barham of Bartlesville who sang “Automatic” by Miranda Lambert. Also of Bartlesville was 9th grader Summer Flenniken who sang “All Your Life” by the Band Perry. Hailing from Wilburton was 15-year old Jana Cox who sang “You’re Lookin at Country” by Loretta Lynn and “Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood.
Lauren Patton of Tulsa sang “Fist City” by Loretta Lynn and “Crazy Dreams” by Carrie Underwood. Also hailing from Tulsa was 17-year old Anastasia Richardson who composed and sang “Where Would We Be” along with “American Honey” by Lady Antebellum. With 86,000 twitter followers, Richardson will be releasing her first album on Nov. 3 with pre-sales beginning Sept. 3.
Bartlesville talent included Taylor Benbrook who sang “You Lie” by The Band Perry and “Traveling Soldier” by the Dixie Chicks. Jozie Zepeda sang “Jolene’ by Dolly Parton. Zepeda most recently had the lead role as Peter Pan in the Bartlesville Children’s Theater.
A touch of whimsy was interjected by local guitarist Harry Robertson and violinist Yvonne Rose. Robertson said, “No country show should be without a chicken song so we created this flock of songs,” — Hen Cackle, Chicken Stampede and Chicken in the Hay.” Both Robertson and Rose also served as behind-the-scene stage hands.
Allie Baker of Barnsdall wowed the audience with her yodeling talents. Wearing a lovely white country dress, she sang “Cowboy Sweetheart” by Patsy Montana. Baker followed this up with a dazzling turquoise evening gown for “Silver Wings” by Merle Haggard. Baker is Pawhuska’s 2013 Rodeo Princess and sang the National Anthem at Rodeo Round-Up.
Leah Strahm and Serena Jeffers joined the Pawhuska line up with a duet “Follow Me” by Uncle Kracker and “Grandpa” by The Judd’s. Individually, Strahm sang “Blue Bayou” by Linda Ronstadt. Strahm has appeared in several Constantine plays and the Bartlesville Children’s Theater. In addition to being an avid soccer player, she plays the piano and learning to play the guitar.
Jeffers sang “Walking after Midnight” by Patsy Cline. She has appeared in several Constantine plays and is a Pawhuska cheerleader. Both young ladies are 9th graders and active in their respective churches.
The J & P Country Dancers entertained the audience with several line dances. This Dewey-Bartlesville group was formed a decade ago by Johnny and Pat Tower.
Brian Jeffers created the amazing backdrop that could easily have come off the set of HeeHaw or Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry. Jeffers’ daughter, Serena, confessed to helping her Dad by painting one of the blacken windows.